By RYAN GORMAN
A Rio de Janeiro man has confessed to killing more than 40 people for fun – making him one of history's most prolific serial killers.
Sailson Jose das Gracas, 26, was arrested shortly after stabbing a woman to death on the outskirts of the sprawling city, and soon confessed to another 41 murders, police said. Thirty-eight of his victims were women, three men and one a two-year-old girl.
Das Graces boasted during a police press conference that he derived great pleasure from the exact moment his victims died and that four of the killings were contract murders for Cleoza Barbina and Jose Messia, a couple who have since also been arrested, according to a police statement. The couple paid him to kill at least one person over a debt of only $15, according to reports.
Das Graces said the more his victims struggled, the more joy he derived from their deaths.
"I was glad when she struggled, screamed and scratched me," he told police, according to Odia, a local newspaper. Police said das Graces also removed his victim's nails to add to their torture.
The admitted killer insisted he killed only white women and preferred blondes, according to the BBC. His preferred method was to strangle them to death, but he would also shoot or stab if necessary.
"He wanted to kill women -- white women, not black ones. He followed the victims, studying them closely before committing the crimes," police commissioner Pedro Henrique Medina, from the northern suburb of Nova Iguacu, told AFP.
"Not the black race," he told Globo G1, a Brazilian television station. "Because it is family."
Das Gracas also described how he would stalk victims before ending their lives.
"I observed them, I studied them. I waited for a month, sometimes a week, depending on the place. I tried to ascertain where they lived, what their families were like," said the admitted killer, according to Sky News.
"I kept watch on their houses and then after a while went there at dawn, waited for my chance and entered," he continued.
"I would wait for an opportunity to break into the house and kill," said das Graces, according to the BBC.
The disturbed man told gathered reporters that the murders filled a void in his life.
"When I didn't do it I would get nervous, then I would go hunting," he said, according to Sky News.
"When I wasn't killing someone I got uptight. I would pace up and down at home. Killing calmed me down," he said, according to AFP.
A police official told Odia that das Graces often masturbated over his dead victims, but the killer insists he never sexually assaulted or raped any of the women he killed.
The killing spree lasted nine years, according to das Graces.
"At 17, I killed the first woman and that gave me a buzz. I kept on doing it and I enjoyed it," he said, according to AFP.
Das Graces told reporters he regretted only one murder, the two-year-old child.
"I only regret the child," he said, according to Odia. "The child cried a lot and could have woken the neighbors."
The depraved man was arrested multiple times since 2007 on charges of theft and gun possession.
He otherwise expressed no remorse and even said nothing could stop him from killing more people.
"I don't feel remorse. If I go to jail for 10, 15, 20 years, then as soon as I get out I'll do the same thing all over again."
Das Graces is yet another in a line of serial killers apprehended this year in Brazil.
His death toll tops the 39 killed by Thiago Rocha, a 26-year-old hospital security guard. Another suspect has admitted to killing nine people in the mostly-impoverished South American country.
The maximum prison sentence for a serial killer under Brazilian law is only 30 years.
'Your Roving Reporter'